Answer honestly. Do you have what it takes to run background research, fact check, spell check, grammar check, objectivity check. Wait a moment, wasn’t blogging supposed to be about opinion and voice? Yes it was, and so was journalism. You are allowed to feel, witness (experience), and document what you see through your human filter.
Christiane Amanpour thinks that “there are some situations that one simply cannot be neutral about. Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.” Herein lies the first lesson in running a publication for bloggers – it is about being balanced in recognizing differing points of view.
Another journalist I have tremendous respect for, John Timpane of the Editorial Board at The Philadelphia Inquirer – former Shakespearian English teacher and poet – calls it skepticism. This means requiring the official reality to explain itself. Not to be confused with another sentiment, which is often overused: cynicism. A cynic is not open to discovery, he is set in his ways. A skeptic, on the other hand, is open to receiving. In other words, they are listening while exercising critical thinking.
Now that you are listening, you can pass the biggest test.
The Biggest Test
The biggest test you can take after you honor the proper grammar and form is that of the attribution. Being objective means being honest with yourself, and with the other – both sides. Can you do that?
Then you are well on your way. All the other things – finding news, analyzing it, doing background and fact checks, even finding a sponsor or an ad network for your publication is easier.
The hardest part is always that of objectivity. Asking, even requiring reality to explain itself is harder than it seems. Yet the rewards are oh so much greater. With the recent news of Ars Technica being bought by Conde’ Nast we learned a very important piece of information: the community that forms around an online publication can be a powerful story.
Compelling at the tune of millions of dollars. The content is key to forming that, of course, as is the integrity and passion of the reporting – with objectivity. What side of the conversation are you not giving a hearing to?